Four Areas Indiana Must Invest In To Close The Skills Gap

Posted: Updated:

Often dubbed the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, Indianapolis has quickly become a notable tech hub. The city, which added nearly 9,200 digital service jobs between 2010 and 2015 - more than that of the metro areas of Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio and Louisville combined - is also home to prominent tech companies such as Salesforce, Sharpen, PERQ and countless more to come.

However, with the city’s tremendous growth in the tech sector also comes a major skills gap, leaving many companies with unfilled jobs. In fact, recent findings show that 500,000 tech job postings went unfilled at the end of 2017 nationwide. If many companies are in dire need of employees, why aren’t they finding them?

Much research points to unqualified and undereducated applicants. With a need for a relevant tech ecosystem, Indiana must close the skills gap and position the state for future success by investing in the following four areas.

Inspire

While Indiana is full of endless opportunities for residents, many have their sights set elsewhere. In order to further expand tech growth in the state, and to close the skills gap, Indiana must inspire their residents. Inspiration should start early and occur often.

Residents should be made aware of the opportunities that lie, quite literally, next door, and focus efforts on changing’s perceptions of Indiana to retain top talent.

For many, they believe they have to leave the state to advance their tech career, then come back and raise a family. We need to break down this belief that you have to go somewhere else to be successful, when all the opportunities people need are right here. We should inspire and inform the next generation on all that Indiana has to offer.

Launch

While it’s important to provide professionals with tools for success, it’s equally important to empower individuals and afford them the confidence to achieve their goals.

In an era where “thinking” is emphasized over “doing,” many professionals aren’t prepared for many of the relevant skills the workforce requires. By providing professionals with the skills necessary for success, we can help launch their careers. 

Additionally, it’s important that unique opportunities are granted to groups who don’t have as easy of access to education. For example, veterans. Similar as to what Eleven Fifty Academy and schools such as Indiana University have done, they’ve begun accepting GI Bill funds. Through programs such as these, we’re able to propel veterans into their professional careers by covering the costs associated with education and training.

Another group worth focusing on is those who don’t attend or finish college. With these individuals falling further behind than ever, it’s critical we find a way to invest and prepare this group for their careers. More importantly, we must decide who will give up valuable resources to support and train these individuals, as many aren’t willing to, despite the ever-growing need to.

Train

Despite some claims, education in America isn’t broken, it’s imbalanced. Our antiquated educational business model is rapidly falling behind in its ability to deliver the skills required of the workforce. Still, there are several ways we can train individuals to meet the needs of today’s employers. Nontraditional education, such as immersive training programs, is one great way to meet those requirements.

Maintain

Another valuable way we can close the skills gap is by maintaining and regularly updating education. Educational programs should be evaluated on a consistent basis to ensure the best education possible. The current curriculum review is measured in years, however, that no longer works, and won’t work in the future.

Furthermore, educators should seek input from employers to develop meaningful and relevant education. Educators should also listen closely to employers’ needs. These two groups don’t always “speak the same language,” so it can sometimes be difficult to parlay these needs into educational lessons.

As one of the top technical skills academies in the country, we offer robust courses with a job placement rate of 90 percent. I strongly encourage Hoosiers to take full advantage of all the gems in our state, not just at our academy, but with the countless programs available right in our own backyards.

In order to preserve the dynamic Indianapolis tech scene, it’s essential Hoosiers focus on investing in professionals to close the skills gap and position the state for future success. Together, we can create a strong, technology-focused community full of capable and well prepared professionals.

John Qualls is president of Eleven Fifty Academy.

  • Perspectives

    • Market Volatility - Fodder for Financial Fears

      Fact: The value of the stock market goes up and down.  It’s called “market volatility”.  How concerned should you be with a thousand point change in the index? Since your reaction can impact your personal portfolio, it’s most important that you have a good perspective. Significant price movements in the stock market grabbed headlines and captivated media pundits throughout 2018. The last week of the year the market experienced large price swings...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Indiana Liquor Group to Buy Save-On Liquor Chain

      Indiana Liquor Group LLC will work with the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission this week for final approval of its purchase of Save-On Liquor stores. Our partners at The Herald Bulletin report Phillip E. Miller agreed to sell the 31-location package store chain to ILG last month. 

    • Books & Brews Acquires Flat12 Bierwerks

      Indianapolis-based Books & Brews has announced its acquisition of Flat12 Bierwerks, also based in Indy. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, however Books & Brews says it will continue to operate Flat12 under the same brand name. The acquisition is a continuation of an existing partnership between the two entities. Books & Brews says Flat12 has been a brewery partner for the past two years, brewing all of B&B's flagship and seasonal beers.

    • New Tourism Director Has Plans For Growth

      The new director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development says she hopes to create a strategic plan to continue the growth of tourism in the state. Misty Weisensteiner began her new role earlier this month after being appointed by Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch in December. The former executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Partnership says tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand and there needs to be a greater focus on that relationship.

    • Loeb Stadium Project in Final Design Phase

      The $17 million overhaul of Loeb Stadium in Lafayette is in its final planning stages. The Journal & Courier says the overall design of the project is complete, which includes flipping the field, an additional suite and a new entrance designed to be a more visible landmark. Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski unveiled plans for the reimagining of the more than 75-year-old stadium in 2017. The city council earlier this month approved a $17 million bond to fund the project.

    • BMWC Constructors Announce Leadership Changes

      Indianapolis-based BMWC Constructors, Inc. continues their strategic growth with leadership changes. Chairman of the Board Jim Davis retired after eight years in the role and after 30 years with the company.  President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Acton will move into the role of Chairman of the Board, while remaining CEO.